Integrity and Conflict Management System (ICMS)

Helping to maintain integrity and resolve conflict in PAHO


At the core of PAHO's mission is the need to instill and reinforce a culture of ethics and integrity in everything we do. The promotion of ethical conduct in every facet of our work can lead to improved results, a better work environment and a reduction in conflict.

Nonetheless, in any organization, large or small, conflicts will inevitably arise. These conflicts can take many forms, including disagreements between individuals or groups of individuals and employment-related disputes on topics such as conditions of service, promotion opportunities, job classification or disciplinary action, to name a few.

PAHO promotes the prevention and resolution of conflict at the earliest possible opportunity and offers a range of options to deal with workplace concerns, ranging from informal counseling to formal review mechanisms to ensure that grievances are heard in a proper and timely manner. In cases where conflicts cannot be settled through direct discussions between the parties involved, personnel may utilize the different resources to address and resolve their concerns.

To foster an environment of high ethical business standards and provide a systematic approach to deal with conflict, PAHO has established a comprehensive system, called the Integrity and Conflict Management System (ICMS). Through this system, which integrates the existing internal resources and policies, personnel working for PAHO can obtain assistance to address workplace-related concerns and grievances.

In general, everyone who works for PAHO, irrespective of the type or duration of contract, can access the services of the ICMS. However, access can vary from one resource to another depending on the issue under consideration. In some cases, access to a particular resource is also extended to people from outside the Organization whereas in other cases access is limited only to staff who hold U.N. appointments. Moreover, in certain instances, recourse to dispute resolution mechanisms are specifically governed by the terms of the employment contract.

Access to each individual resource is clearly delineated in the respective sections of the different ICMS resources.

PAHO offers a variety of resources to address ethical issues and workplace concerns and to help prevent and resolve conflict, ranging from informal conflict resolution services to an administrative tribunal whose decisions are binding. These resources include the Ombudsperson, Ethics Office, Human Resources Management, Legal Office, Internal Oversight Services, Information Security Office, ICMS Country Focal Points, Board of Appeal and ILO Administrative Tribunal.

In view of the number of available resources, it can sometimes be unclear which is the most appropriate resource to use in a given situation. One of the key objectives of the ICMS is to guide you to the resource that is best suited to handle your concern or problem.

To meet this objective, the ICMS spells out the specific role of each resource, as well as its mandate, scope of work, independence, authority or decision-making ability, reporting relationships, level of confidentiality and access to officials and records. With this information, you can take an informed decision regarding the most appropriate resource to use in a given situation.

Detailed information on each individual resource is included below and a quick-reference chart (in PDF) has been developed to help you identify the most appropriate resource to consult.

Yes, you can access the system through multiple entry points and have the freedom to contact the resource you prefer or are more comfortable with. Accordingly, you have the choice to contact directly the most appropriate resource, depending on the type of issue raised, or to contact any of the ICMS resources for assistance. However, the ICMS resource may refer you, as appropriate, to another ICMS resource to ensure that your individual needs are met.

PAHO encourages personnel to raise issues as soon as possible so they can be addressed, resulting in a better, more productive working environment. The first option is to address workplace concerns directly with your supervisor(s). If this is not feasible or if the desired outcome has not been achieved, you can contact the ICMS resources at any time for assistance.

The PAHO/AMRO Staff Association is not a formal part of the system, but rather is considered as an associate entity. In this capacity, it is better positioned to independently guide and advise you on an appropriate course of action in case you have a workplace concern or problem.


PAHO Help Line

Use it when you need to:

  • Ask questions about situations you think may give rise to ethical concerns.
  • Report an illegal or unsafe situation in your workplace.
  • Suspect that someone is engaging in unethical behavior.
  • Available in the Organization's four official languages (English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese).

Contact us

Safe, secure, anonymous, and always available!